One week ago, this looked like the end of an intense stretch of games for the Raiders against Wild Card competitors and divisional rivals, but after the Lions handed Green Bay their third-straight loss, things have gotten a little more interesting.
While the Lions have been one of the worst teams in the league for most of this season, it must be said that as long as you have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the offensive potential is still there.
On the other side of the field, the Raiders are losers of two straight and in desperate need of a win to keep playoff hopes alive after a devastating home loss to the Vikings. Speaking of devastating — my fantasy picks last week? YIKES!
I recommended Teddy Bridgewater, Stefon Diggs and Derek Carr. Bridgewater threw for just 140 yards and one touchdown, while Diggs hauled in just two passes for 46 yards. Carr at least was productive — throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns to go along with two interceptions.
At least in the sleeper category we were a little more productive. Mychal Rivera recorded six catches for 46 yards and Jamize Olawale recorded 59 total yards on five carries and three catches. Unfortunately, after averaging five targets a game the previous two weeks, Wallace saw just two passes and caught one of them.
Ah yes, and then the dreaded snoozer category. One week ago I gave you Deangelo Williams, who went for 225 total yards and two touchdowns. This week, I nearly topped myself — suggesting Adrian Peterson as a snoozer (although with the disclaimer I thought he would be productive, just not super-productive). Peterson responded to my hate by going for 203 yards and a touchdown.
I also said to avoid the Vikings defense, who allowed just 14 points while forcing two turnovers and logging two sacks.
But enough about that — let's check in on this week's matchup against the Lions...
Derek Carr — The Lions have allowed the sixth-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and Carr was an endzone interception and a garbage time almost-catch away from his third-straight three touchdown game.
Matthew Stafford — Oakland has allowed the fourth-most points to opposing quarterbacks, and with Detroit's inability to run the ball, I expect to see the ball throw A LOT this Sunday.
Latavius Murray — I'm going to give Oakland the benefit of the doubt and assume Murray's lack of real involvement last week (12 carries) was precautionary as he recovered from a concussion. This week, he faces a Lions defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs.
Sebastian Janikowski, Matt Prater — Kicking is 100-percent fluky when it comes to fantasy points, but when you're on a bad streak like me, you get a little crazy. The Raiders have allowed the second-most points to kickers, while the Lions have allowed the fourth-most. Add in an indoor facility this week and we might just see some kicking.
Eric Ebron — Ebron is going against the worst defense at defending tight ends, and this just one week after Ebron finished second on the Lions in targets with eight. After five strong games to start the season (both pre and post injury), Ebron has slowed down the past two weeks, but I think this is the week he re-emerges.
Clive Walford — Last week I took Mychal Rivera as a sleeper and he finished second on the team in targets. This week, though, I'm back aboard Team Clive. Walford has recorded a touchdown catch in three of his past four games, and despite the lack of targets (just 13 in his last four games), I think his season is on the verge of taking off.
Detroit Running Backs — After the last two weeks, I almost left this section blank, but with a three-headed monster splitting carries and Oakland's commitment to (trying to) stop the run, I think all three of these guys (Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick) suffer slow weeks. If I had to pick one to play, it'd be Bell, but I don't feel great about any of them.